Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving, Burkina Style

26 November – Romongo, 8:38pm

We had already argued our way out of afternoon classes, so getting them to drop our lunch-time language hour wasn't too hard since we were all eager to start cooking. Antoinette, Em and I headed over to the market to buy supplies, then biked over to Antoinette's house. It was really nice, with multiple latrines and showers, electricity, a television, a bike room, and a gas stove. Interesting, what it takes to impress me these days! Our rice and couscous with yellow onions, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper were both delicious, albeit a little odd on texture, especially with the couscous being quite thick and sticky (too much water? Not enough time cooking?). Still, we ate some of each with a little VQR and I would be very content to make both again at site or for my family. The TV was on while we cooked, so we got to see the reading of the election results by district and candidate. I can't believe people could just sit there and listen to lists of numbers – it was horribly boring, although we were surprised to note that there was a small screen in the corner showing a man signing the results for deaf viewers. We talked and played gin rummy while waiting for the car to come get our food, and I'm glad I got the chance to hang out with two people that I don't often spend time with.

Thanksgiving was a lot of fun! The food was abundant and absolutely incredible. I ate way way way too much, as is proper on Thanksgiving. We had quite the spread – traditional baked turkey with carrots, patates (a starchy purple-skinned root, kind of like a yam), and oranges (incredible!), fried turkey, fried chicken, fried barbeque chicken, orange chicken, pasta salad, rice and couscous, fruit salad, guacamole and salsa with homemade tortilla chips, salad, stuffing, green beans, crepes with banana filling, garlic bread, mashed patates and drinks – beer, liquor, soda, and bissap (iced hibiscus tea with mint and sugar). It was not only delicious in terms of a great meal, but doubly satisfying because all of it (with few exceptions like the bissap) was made from scratch by ourselves, even the tortillas that became the tortilla chips for the fresh made salsa. I'll admit, I was totally impressed and proud, and would have appreciated it all more if I had eaten less and thus felt less ill. I guess my stomach was unused to so much rich food!

By knowing vaguely how to carve a chicken, I was ordered to the kitchen to carve up the turkey, which I now know is nothing like carving up a chicken. For one thing, the drumstick was as long as the chicken that had been stuffed into and baked with our turkey! But we made it work, and the pass though window into the room with the rest of the food and people was nice so that we could still be part of the action while working in the kitchen. Plus when you control access to picking off the bones, suddenly you become very popular! ;)

We drew hand turkeys on a big piece of paper (vampire turkeys, to be specific, not sure why), danced, talked, laughed, ate, and generally had a fantastic time. Our LCFs and staff joined us for dinner, but left us to our dancing and carrying on after. The French tourists staying at Abbe-Pierre popped over for a bit to say hello, although I didn't get to talk to them. After a while I went and set up my tent so that it would be ready for later, joining the growing collection of tents accumulating next to the gazebo. Yay Bug Huts! The night was lovely - it was cold and I slept soundly, wrapped in my sleep sack and crew jacket.

Today we woke up, cleaned up while eating leftovers for breakfast (where did the turkey go?), drove to Romongo, and did a little language before going to watch the women at the Catholic Mission CREN make bouillie. The one with the sugar and dried fish was admittedly not a favorite, but the one with moringa and sugar tasted a bit like green tea and I bet moringa in green tea would be pretty tasty. After we left the CREN, Aaron and Rob biked back to Koudougou while the rest of us returned to the CSPS for an awesome session with Gwen on IGAs (Income Generating Activities)/Moringa (the wonder tree)/Credit Clubs, then another language class where we played 99 again, but in Moore!

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